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Flawed health funding report ignores best solution – Ó Caoláin

9 July, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Commenting on the report of the Expert Group on Resource Allocation and Financing in the Health Sector, Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the report recognised the inequalities and inefficiencies in the Irish health system but ignored the best solution – universal provision based on need alone. Describing the report’s core proposals as flawed, he said:

“The report of the Expert Group on Resource Allocation and Financing in the Health Sector recognises that there are ‘serious inequalities in access to care’ in the health system. These include high GP fees which deter many people on low incomes who do not qualify for the medical card from making necessary visits to their doctors. Another inequality identified in the report is faster access to hospital services for people who can afford private health insurance.

“While the report thus confirms the two-tier and grossly inequitable nature of the health system it does not set out to remedy this. It proposes solutions supposedly based on better use of resources but without altering the inequitable and inefficient structure of the two-tier system.

“The report’s core proposals are flawed, paving the way for further privatisation of the health system. The proposal for an expanded and tiered medical card system for GP care is highly complex and would be a bureaucratic and logistical nightmare to deliver. While Minister Harney has praised the report she is actually undermining the existing medical card system by cutting back on entitlements and imposing prescription fees.

“The report ignores what is, in Sinn Féin’s view, the best solution and that is universal provision of healthcare for all based on need alone. This would be free at the point of delivery and funded from fair general taxation. Tinkering with the current system is not enough.” ENDS

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